JANET STREET PORTER: Worry about wrinkles? We oldies are too busy having fun

Worry about wrinkles We oldies are too busy having fun



11:43 GMT, 11 June 2012

Wouldn’t it be revolutionary to open a newspaper and find a headline about the elderly that contained one tiny nugget of positivity

Just as the media routinely demonise the young by assuming that one feral youth in a hoodie means there’s a work-shy feckless generation loafing about all day doing bugger all, so pensioners are often categorised as lurching from bedpan to Zimmer frame in shapeless beige clothing, living on Complan and sitting at home, lonely and friendless.

During the Jubilee weekend, our TV screens completely contradicted that lie. All over the country, generations got together to have a party, the focal point of which was a stylish 86-year-old granny.

A rare smile from Anna Wintour, pictured with designer Tommy Hilfiger (right)

A rare smile from Anna Wintour, pictured with designer Tommy Hilfiger (right)

I collect newspaper headlines every day, and for every good bit of news about pensioners — ‘Sex after 50 is great, say baby boomers’ and ‘Over-50s fitter than when they were twentysomethings’ are two of my recent favourites — there’s a thick sheaf of negative ones.

They range from ‘Older workers on the scrapheap’, to ‘Old age starts when you reach 54’ and ‘50 — the age at which women become invisible’ to this shocker, ‘All over-65s must be screened for drugs and alcohol’. Enough to make me have another glass of delicious Chardonnay, and nibble on a lump of full-fat cheese.

Many social commentators routinely group all pensioners as needy, in poor health, miserable and isolated, out of touch with the modern world, side-lined. Of course, many are — but far more lead fulfilling and interesting lives.

Yesterday, the Observer triumphed in the knee-jerk misery stakes with ‘Hidden malaise of UK’s elderly: low esteem and poor body image’.
‘ENOUGH OF THIS RUBBISH!’ I want to scream.

Their shocking ‘findings’ emanate from the important-sounding Centre for Appearance Research at the University of the West of England.
That’s one pointless hotbed of ‘learning’ Education Minister JSP would be closing down within five minutes of gaining office. You could come up with the same findings about women from every age group.

Of course, there will always be females agonising over their looks, but plenty more are happy with what nature has dealt them and have more important things to deal with in their day than worrying about that hair sprouting on their chin or a mini -wrinkle in their neck.

Turn that frown upside down: Hillary Clinton does not worry about laughter lines

Turn that frown upside down: Hillary Clinton does not worry about laughter lines

Hillary Clinton is a wonderful role model for modern women: as one of the most powerful politicians in the world, she stoically gets on with the job, and has no time for hand-wringing about her body mass index or lack-lustre hair.

When it comes to appearance, far from being shrinking violets, a growing number of women in their 70s, 80s and 90s dress exactly the way they want, and the results are stunning.

The older you get, the more you have been able to perfect your style (again, the Queen is a great example — even snooty Karl Lagerfeld says she gets it right).

New Yorker Ari Seth Cohen has produced a book, Advanced Style, packed with stylish older women who he’s photographed, and dozens more contribute to his influential blog.

I want to be able to read about being old without hearing about incontinence, care homes and dementia.

It’s not all bad news! Three-quarters of people in their 70s are silver surfers, and my eightysomething Auntie Vi is on Skype to her pals around the world every night.

A silly survey recently claimed that most people ‘feel grown up’ at 26. I carefully perused the list of 50 key indicators which supposedly denote you’re a fully-fledged adult. Luckily, I failed a pretty large number, for example:

I have no idea how to change a tyre (pay someone else and save your nails!).I rarely listen to Radio 2. My mother and I got on so badly, she never once asked me for advice.I do not own a lawnmower (my partner thinks it’s ‘man’s work). I do not ‘potter’ at weekends, I issue orders.I do not iron anything (folding is an art form).I don’t like receiving gift vouchers (flowers, please).I do not wash up immediately after eating (men have to learn it’s their job). I do not go to bed by 11pm (except on weekends, when I’m getting over the week).I do not wear a coat on a night out (I might lose it). I do not make trips to the local tip, although I do recycle my bottles under cover of darkness so no one can count what’s going in the bin. I’m clearly a perennial teenager. I will die before I get old and I guarantee I will be wearing stylish clothes.

Anna, the ice queen of diplomacy

What qualifications are required to represent your country abroad An in-depth knowledge of Prada’s collections over the past decade and their key themes How important is a knowledge of modern warfare, or a grasp of world economic trends

Looking perrenially chic and rarely cracking a smile is what could land Anna Wintour (left, in one of those rare moments), the British-born editor of American Vogue, the plum job of U.S. Ambassador to London.

Anna Wintour’s dad was my editor during my early days in Fleet Street. A kind man, he rarely showed his feelings. Anna has inherited that inscrutable quality, sitting at thousands of catwalk shows without ever revealing a single thought.

The one person she’s openly enthused about is Michelle Obama, and since the Presidential Inauguation, Anna has been quietly advising the First Lady on her wardrobe, combining lesser-known American designers with accessible ranges such as J Crew.

Now, Anna is organising fundraising events for the Obama re-election campaign, and there are plenty of rumours that if he’s successful, she’ll be offered a plum job, possibly in London.

Anna would be a good choice. More charismatic than yet another (middle-aged, male) banker in a grey suit, she could really reinvigorate the job. At least she will throw elegant parties.

Don't snivel, Fearne, grow a thicker skin

Radio One DJ Fearne Cotton

The Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow

Fearne Cotton and John Bercow (pictured above) are mightily upset, because nasty people have been criticising them. Fearless Fearne, keen to show she’s a broadcasting pro who can dish it out when the going gets tough, tweets: ‘People who sit lazily and judge others will never grow.’

In another gobbet of wisdom she opines: ‘Grown men who slag me off in articles/online are huge bullies. I love my job and wouldn’t be doing it if I wasn’t any good at it.’

In a radio documentary about his work, Bercow describes his critics as ‘bigots and snobs’.

What a pair of wimps. The first thing to learn when you’re in the public eye is you will need a thick skin.

If I believed all the drivel written about me over the past 40 years, I would still be snivelling in the lavs.

Fearne, love, it wasn’t just grown men who thought your performance over the Jubilee weekend was utter cack — a straw poll conducted in my neighbourhood finds that an astonishingly representative cross-section of the British public are of the same opinion.

As for Mr Bercow, to respond to the piffle written about him demeans his office. He descends to the level of his needy wife, who must tweet in her sleep.

Can posh girls get hip

Hip-hop queen Kate Goldsmith

Hip-hop queen Kate Goldsmith

I turned down the chance to speak at a pretentious-sounding debate coming up at the Barbican in London later this month which posed the view ‘Hip Hop doesn’t enhance society — it degrades it’, on the grounds it seemed to have quite enough middle-class white women involved — Emily Maitlis and Jemima Khan are contributing.

They don’t need me, although I lived with a rapper for five years, Normski, so I can claim some experience in these matters.

I love it when posh totty gets down with the kids.

Do you think Jemima is asking her sister-in-law Kate for some advice